Soundtrack for this blog post:
(Diana Krall – The Autumn Leaves)
(Sweet Jazz Trio – Autumn in New York)
I drove to Brooklyn at the end of October. I was leaving Austin, Texas, where the stately trees were found mainly at the University grounds and the neighborhoods nearby. Generally I was used to seeing live oaks that shed leaves all year long on account of the endless drought, and scrubby cedars. I hadn’t experienced the way that fall glorified other states and the drive through the avenues of trees in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, the Interstate highways was beautiful.
Reaching Brooklyn, I was really surprised. I had read Betty Smith’s novel, A Tree Grow in Brooklyn, and expected a barren landscape, a rusty jungle devoid of nature with maybe a tree hidden away and carefully tended in someone’s backyard or a potted plant on a fire escape. Wrong. Brooklyn is abundant with trees.
There was an apple tree in our back yard and other neighbors had maples and oaks. On our side of Ocean Avenue, there were little plots of ground breaking up the sidewalk with linden trees planted in them. There leaves turned color slowly from green to yellow to orange to brown. It wasn’t unusual to find linden tree leaves on the ground with rings of 3 or 4 different colors.
Directly across the street in Prospect Park, massive trees were ripe with leaves turning red, gold, yellow, rust, and every shade of brown. A wall of oaks lined the edge of the park – it seemed like they were 100 feet high – and filled the bay window of my apartment with color. The park grounds were covered with a paradise of leaves in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Kicking through them was mandatory.
My favorite tree in Brooklyn was a large tulip tree near the lake in Prospect Park. Its leaves turned from deep green to lemon yellow. Standing under that tree was like being under a cool sun.
Outside of Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery, the old neighborhoods, the ones with the four and five story row houses – Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Bedford Stuyvesant – and even Betty Smith’s Williamsburg neighborhood have plenty of stately old trees.
http://www.prospectpark.org/media/file/FallLeaves1.pdf examples of leaves
If a walk through a Brooklyn neighborhood doesn’t satisfy your appetite for foliage, the New York Water Taxi gives tours up the Hudson River to view the trees that line the river. Once the boat travels past The Bronx, there isn’t a lot of visible architecture and you can imagine historic New York State – the explorers, farmers, and fur trappers. It’s a nice trip. http://www.nywatertaxi.com/
Post by Alana Cash
4 Years in Brooklyn
Four Years in Brooklyn